Chinese dentists living in Karachi for decades targeted; cashier killed

Published September 29, 2022
Police cordon off crime scene in Saddar on Wednesday.
— Faysal Mujeeb / White Star
Police cordon off crime scene in Saddar on Wednesday. — Faysal Mujeeb / White Star

KARACHI: A young Chinese man was shot dead while a Chinese dentist couple were critically wounded when a man posing as patient, wearing a surgical mask, entered their clinic in a busy commercial area of Saddar and opened indiscriminate fire on the victims on Wednesday evening, said officials and witnesses.

South-SSP Syed Asad Raza said that at around 4.05pm an unidentified person came to the private dental clinic of Dr Richard Hu on Preedy Street and sat in the waiting area for tooth treatment.

“After about 15-20 minutes, he entered the clinic area and opened fire on Dr Richard Hu, his wife Phen Teyin and their assistant Ronald Raymond Chou after taking out a 9mm pistol,” the senior officer said adding that the assailant however, did not hurt any Pakistani present there.

As a result, the couple sustained bullet wounds while Ronald, who was their employee, died on the spot.

The couple were immediately taken to nearby Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre for treatment while the deceased was shifted to Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK) for medico-legal formalities.

Couple running clinic in Saddar wounded by gunman posing as patient

“Reportedly, Dr Richard Hu ran this private clinic in this area for more than 40 years and the three victims held dual nationality of China and Pakistan,” said the SSP South.

The couple lived in the Park Lane area of Clifton while the deceased was a resident of Cantt Karachi.

The closed-circuit television camera footage from the clinic and nearby shops have been obtained.

“The assailant was wearing a red cap and dark blue trousers and shirt,” said Mr Raza, adding that after firing, he managed to escape with his accomplice who had parked his motorbike at the corner of Preedy Street towards M.A. Jinnah Road. “Geo-fencing of the area is being done to obtain clues.”

‘Targeted killing after proper recce’

The officer said the investigation would be carried out by the Counter-Terrorism Department.

“At this stage, motive for the incident is unclear as to whether the victims were targeted owing to personal reason or it was a terrorist attack,” opined the SSP Raza.

The CTD DIG, Asif Aijaz Shaikh, told Dawn that nothing conclusive about the incident could be said at this stage.

He said he along with his team of CTD investigators was at the spot and probing into the incident whose findings would be shared with media.

Another CTD official, Raja Umer Khattab, said that it appeared to be a targeted killing carried out after a proper reconnaissance.

However, Mr Khattab added that mostly those Chinese who came on visa and were affiliated with projects had been targeted in the past.

“But the Chinese dentists have been living in the country since past 50 years and they have become Pakistani now. They are attacked because they were easy target,” he added.

Police surgeon Dr Summaiya Syed said that at around 4.38pm, Ronald Raymond Chou, 32, was brought dead at the CHK. He suffered two fatal bullet injuries on his neck and back.

Dr Syed added the Chinese couple suffered bullet injuries in their abdomen. Later on, they were taken to the Aga Khan University Hospital for further treatment. She said that the condition of the couple was ‘stable’ but the man could face complications.

Asif, a neighbour of the Chinese dentist couple, who also runs his dental clinic adjacent to their’s, said that the Chinese had been running it since decades as it was located on the ground floor of a British-era building.

The couple have children, who lived abroad while Dr Richard’s brother, who is also a dentist, runs his private clinic in Clifton.

The witness said the deceased worked as a ‘cashier-receptionist’ and was a relative of the couple. He said at the time of the incident, around 12-15 persons, including staff, were present at the clinic. He said some staff members told him that the assailant had visited their clinic sometime ago.

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah took notice of the attack and sought a detailed report from authorities.

Earlier in April, three Chinese nationals and their Pakistani driver were killed by a woman suicide bomber in Karachi University. The banned terrorist outfit Baloch Liberation Army claimed responsibility for the attack.

Published in Dawn, September 29th, 2022

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